After just two weeks of NHL action in the new season, some teams are surprisingly successful, while others have disappointed.
Let’s take a look at the RS NHL Power Rankings heading into week three of the season.
1) Tampa Bay Lightning (6-1-1)
Tampa Bay has many things going for them and lead the Eastern Conference at the time of this article being written and have players playing absolutely off the charts right now.
Nikita Kucherov has collected nine points in his last five games to bolster an already potent offensive attack that also includes eight points from Steven Stamkos in the last five games alone.
This team looks well on their way to having a big bounce-back year in the Eastern Conference and snag this week’s first place finish in the Eastern Conference Power Rankings.
2) New Jersey Devils (6-1-0)
These upstart Devils continue to impress as they keep racking up big wins to begin the year. Nico Hischier has been as good as advertised with seven points so far in only seven games played. If this is how New Jersey plans to play all season, you all better get used to seeing them in this position in our rankings.
3) Toronto Maple Leafs (6-1-0)
This team has the ability to skate and score with anybody in the league right now. What they need to do is keep focusing on their defensive structure and it has shown dividends in their last few games with a more solid approach away from the puck. Auston Matthews continues to pace an effective Toronto attack that keeps them in the top three Eastern teams for another week.
4) Columbus Blue Jackets (5-2-0)
This Blue Jackets’ team is absolutely for real in a season which has already included three road wins. When April comes around, they will be thankful for every point they can muster up, especially on the road. This is one of the more all-around balanced teams in the East it will be tough to see Columbus dropping out of this area often this season.
5) Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1)
The Penguins have been on a tear since their embarrassing loss to Chicago. They have reeled off four wins in their last five games to vault themselves right back up into the upper echelon of our NHL Power Rankings. As the defending Stanley Cup Champions, they appear to have found their form.
6) Ottawa Senators (3-1-3)
Erik Karlsson returned to the Ottawa line-up in an uneventful 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks but he sent a clear message to the NHL in his next game. He picked up three assists in an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils to show he is back and ready to pace this scrappy, hardworking bunch in Ottawa that will scratch and claw their way as high as they can in the rankings this season.
7) Philadelphia Flyers (4-3-0)
After a big Western Conference road trip to start the year, the Flyers came home and thumped Washington in convincing fashion. They followed that up with a nice performance against the Florida Panthers before dropping a slim 1-0 decision to the Nashville Predators last night. Goaltending, as it always seems to be with the Flyers, will be key for this team as they progress through the season in a conference in which they might have room to advance upward.
8) Detroit Red Wings (4-3-0)
Detroit is still playing better than many could have expected but in their last five games, they have posted a losing record of two wins and three losses. They are the team you want to say has a chance to really surprise this year, but I will need to see more from this team to show me they are for real this year and deserving of a higher rank.
9) Carolina Hurricanes (3-1-1)
After picking up two straight wins in Western Canada, Carolina looks to show Saturday night they have turned a corner when they will face another team that looks to be a big player out West in the Dallas Stars. Scott Darling is showing that he is ready to take the reins as an NHL goaltender and only time will tell where he can take this team but for now the team will remain here in the rankings.
10) Washington Capitals (3-3-1)
After following up an 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with a 2-0 shutout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on home ice, things are suddenly just a little uncomfortable in D.C. The defending President’s Trophy winners are better than this position and should soon be able to rebound back up to their normal form.
11) New York Islanders (3-3-1)
This team has been playing a lot of one-goal games recently. Four of their last five games have involved a one-goal differential and in those four games, they have gone 1-2-1. That won’t help them make up much ground in the standings but it shows they are hanging around in games. If they can swing themselves on the other side of some of those one-goal games, they may find themselves higher than their current ranking.
12) Boston Bruins (3-3-0)
It’s interesting to note that every single one of Boston’s games to the time of this article has been against a Western Conference opponent. The Bruins emerged 3-3 from this stretch but those three losses make them lose ground right off the bat in their own conference at the expense of Western teams.
13) Florida Panthers (2-3-0)
Back-to-back losses have the Panthers sitting with a losing record, including an ugly four-goal defeat to the Flyers. This team still doesn’t look like it’s found itself and it still is early, but this team has a lot to prove after last season and can’t afford to fall behind the 8-Ball again.
14) Buffalo Sabres (1-4-2)
This team has been showing signs of life on their current Western road swing. They came out of Anaheim with a win against the Ducks and nearly came back from multiple goals down in an OT loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Some call-ups from the minors have been able to step in and make an impact, like Justin Bailey as they try to help Buffalo turn things around.
15) New York Rangers (1-5-2)
Nobody expected the New York Rangers to be like this seven games into the season. Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t exactly been playing up to his standard form, but he has also started seasons slowly in the past. When his fortunes turn, expect those of the Rangers to turn with them.
16) Montreal Canadiens (1-5-1)
Sitting last in the Eastern Conference, Montreal has only scored 11 goals to this point in the season and that isn’t enough to the get the job done right now. This team needs to find out a way to generate more goals up on the board or it will be a long season in Montreal.
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